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Endemol revenue surges 24%

'Deal or No Deal' helps push earnings up 16%

LONDON — “Deal or No Deal” pumped profits at entertainment producer Endemol, which reported strong growth on Thursday amid rumors of its impending sale by Spanish parent Telefonica.

The Netherlands-based TV format leader said that gross earnings rose 15.9% to E177 million ($233 million) in 2006 from $200 million the previous year.

Revenue rose 24.1% to $1.5 billion against $1.2 billion in 2005. Net income increased by 17.2% to $127 million.

Endemol said growth had been driven primarily by the strong performance of nonscripted formats. Revs for nonscripted shows rose 22.2% to $1.1 billion.

“We are especially pleased with the performance of ‘Deal or No Deal,’ which has climbed to second place in our top 10 formats and which we believe has a very promising future,” said Endemol CEO Elias Rodriguez-Vina.

He added that the show’s success had sparked interest in other formats such as “1 vs. 100,” a revamped show from the Endemol library, as well as new gamers such as “Show Me the Money” and “Set for Life.”

Endemol’s flagship format “Big Brother” remained its biggest money-spinner, airing in 19 countries in 2006.

Revs for scripted shows climbed 8.5% to $187 million, partly due to the acquisition of the successful Netherlands-based producer Nijenhuis en de Levita Holding, which brought a number of popular Dutch sitcoms into the Endemol fold.

Endemol’s digital media — in the fields of participation TV, brand exploitation and tailor-made content for non-TV platforms — saw the biggest rev hike, rising 65.3% to $186.7 million.

Its TV participation campaigns generated 220 million calls and SMS messages in 2006 against 140 million in 2005.

By territory, Endemol said it had registered particularly strong growth in the U.K., the U.S. and Italy, where revenue grew by 43.1%, 46.4% and 30.1%, respectively. In the U.S., growth was due mainly to the success of “Deal or No Deal” and “1 vs. 100” on NBC and the subsequent sale of “Set for Life” and “Show Me the Money” to ABC.

Looking to 2007, Endemol forecast a growth in revs of more than 20%.

The results came amid daily speculation regarding Telefonica’s plans to auction off the subsidiary and the list of possible bidders.

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